How to soundproof an apartment – 6 renter-friendly changes that will block out noisy neighbors
Here's how to soundproof an apartment with simple changes and easy-to-achieve decor tricks
Wondering how to soundproof an apartment? Whether you’re living in a condo, flat or apartment, living in close proximity to your neighbors means noise can travel.
‘If you want to have a fully soundproofed apartment that prevents noise traveling from the street or through your walls and floors, then the ideal (but the more expensive and labor-intensive) option is to use a soundproofing professional,' interior designer, Clare Marie of Clare Marie Design says. ‘To achieve a truly fully soundproofed apartment the walls and floors need to be opened up in order to structurally fix any of the noise transfer issues.’
However, there are ways to soundproof an apartment in a less obtrusive manner, as well as soundproofing measures you can try when decorating an apartment that work for renters, too. From the use of soft furnishings to clever window treatment ideas – here's how to lower the noise levels in your space once and for all.
How to soundproof an apartment
1. Seal your doors
The easiest way to block any internal or external noise? By sealing any leaks around your doors.
‘For an exterior door you can add a door sweep which can be easily attached to the bottom of the door and will help seal your apartment,' interior designer Clare Marie, of Clare Marie Design, says. 'Use a commercial grade door sweep as this will help keep out dust and drafts as well as noise'
Clare also recommends hanging a door curtain in your apartment entryway to try and absorb the noise.
'For internal doors draft excluders which slide and stay under your door are a great solution', Clare adds. 'No tools or fixings are required, simply slide the excluder under and it moves with the door.'
2. Seal your windows
And while we're on the topic of sealing your doors, the same goes for your windows. Along with being a brilliant way to save energy, sealing your windows will work towards emitting noise from traveling.
'Sealing them with foam weatherstripping is the easiest weather stripping to apply,' Clare says. 'This adhesive-backed foam comes on a roll and when compressed by a door or window, the foam seals out the air.'
3. Look at your window treatments
The best modern window treatments not only look good, dressing your windows can help to reduce the noise echoing around your space. Especially if you layer your windows or you use specially designed noise-lowering materials.
'Sound dampening curtains will reduce noise reverberation in the room and wooden shutters will block out external noise from the window,' Clare explains. You can find soundproof curtains on Amazon, or try IKEA's GUNNLAUG curtains.
'If you wish to reduce both types of sounds, then you can use both curtains and shutters which will still look aesthetically pleasing. For these types of window treatments, it is easiest and best to use a specialist who will require a quick home visit to measure up and then return to fit.'
4. Go big on soft furnishings
Let's face it: no room is complete without a flourish of soft furnishings. And thankfully, items like rugs, cushions, blankets and art can all work towards muffling out the noise, if not soundproofing a room.
'It is very easy to help soundproof your apartment using home decor and furnishings,' Decorist designer, Mikayla Keating tells us. 'Keep in mind that these options will not totally block the noise out completely, but combining these elements in your home will help dampen the sound.'
'A few easy ways to help soundproof your apartment through interior design are to add a large rug plus a rug pad, add canvas art or tapestries on the walls and choose soft furnishings.
'Soft furnishings and thicker materials in your apartment will help to absorb the noise coming into and going out of your space. A few examples are to opt for an ottoman instead of a hard coffee table or layering a flatweave rug over a jute area rug.'
5. Make use of full height joinery or shelves
Along with having a functional purpose, a full-height home library can help to reduce noise levels coming from your property or from your neighbors.
'There is a distinct difference between soundproofing your apartment and providing sound absorption solutions,' explains Lindsey Rendall, who is the Creative Director of Rendall & Wright Interiors and is a registered British Institute of Interior Design Interior Designer (BIID). 'Bookcases and full height joinery/wardrobes on internal walls adjoining other properties can help to reduce/muffle sound.'
Filling shelves with dense objects such as books will help reduce noise transfer to an even greater level.
6. Incorporate plants
If you needed another excuse to add some plants to your space – this is it. Decorating with plants is a surefire way to inject some much-needed greenery into your space and boost your mood. But now there's another reason to pop a plant into the mix.
'Having a good selection of indoor plants can also help absorb sound and improve air quality,' BIID President, Mathew Freeman of Freeman Studio explains. His top pick? 'I like the scale and presence of the fiddle leaf fig tree.'
Is it possible to soundproof an apartment?
'To properly soundproof a property you need to eliminate any gaps or connecting materials through which sound can travel from neighboring apartments or the outside world,' Rendall says. 'Full property soundproofing requires professional help and advice.'
However, here are some DIY tips to cut down sound transfer:
- Seal up gaps around windows and doors, this can be done using acoustic sealing kits or by introducing secondary glazing.
- Hang interlined curtains at windows to reduce sound.
- Replace hollow interior doors with solid wooden doors.
- Use acoustic underlay beneath carpets.
- If you have open fires, insert a chimney balloon when not in use to help reduce external noise
- Acoustic wall panels can help absorb noise once in the apartment but doesn't prevent it from entering.
Becks is a freelance lifestyle writer who works across a number of Future's titles. This includes Real Homes, Top Ten Reviews, Tom's Guide, TechRadar and more. She started her career in print journalism at a local newspaper more than 8 years ago and has since then worked across digital and social media for food, fashion and fitness titles, along with home interior magazines. Her own interior style? She's big on creating mindful spaces in every corner of her home. If it doesn't spark joy or happiness, it has no place here. When she’s not writing, she’s reading and when she’s not reading, she’s writing.
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